Mercer Innovation Center Now Accepting Applications for Annual Next Big Idea Student Business Pitch Competition

Next Big Idea 2018

Next Big IdeaATLANTA/MACON – The Mercer Innovation Center (MIC) is seeking aspiring entrepreneurs to participate in its annual Next Big Idea competition, which has expanded this year to include all students on the University’s Macon and Atlanta campuses and up to $15,000 in prizes.

Undergraduate and graduate students of all class years and majors may enter as an individual or in teams of up to five people. Each team may submit one idea, and each individual may only participate on one team and compete on one campus.

Students may register for the competition by submitting an online application by the deadline of Feb. 7. Registered students must then submit a one-page business canvas and an executive summary by March 15.

Finalists will be announced on March 25, and they will pitch their ideas to a panel of judges on April 12 at 3 p.m. in Macon or April 13 at 10 a.m. in Atlanta.

Up to $7,500 in prizes, provided by Mercer’s BB&T Center for Undergraduate Research in Public Policy and Capitalism, will be awarded on each campus.

“I am thrilled by the success stories that have developed out of the Next Big Idea competition from Macon undergraduate students these last few years, and I am excited that we are building on this success and expanding this opportunity to graduate students and students in Atlanta,” said Dr. Briana Stenard, assistant professor of management and entrepreneurship and faculty adviser for the competition. “I am looking forward to seeing all the new ideas that result from the expansion of this year’s competition.”

Information sessions will be available on Jan. 16 at 6 p.m. via Zoom video conferencing and Jan. 23 at 5 p.m. at the MIC in Macon.

For more information, visit Atlanta students may email Dr. Stenard at, or Macon students may email Stephanie Howard, director of the Mercer Innovation Center, at

About the Mercer Innovation Center

The Mercer Innovation Center is an effort by Mercer University, along with community partners such as the Macon-Bibb County Industrial Authority, Birch Communications, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and Dr. Hugh F. Smisson III, to advance a culture of innovation and develop a thriving community of entrepreneurs, with a focus on utilizing technology to foster economic growth, create 21st century jobs and attract and retain talent. The Center is an institutional effort – led by the Stetson School of Business and Economics – that crosses academic disciplines and geographic boundaries to draw from all of the University’s colleges, schools, departments and operating units. Community memberships are available, as the Center’s activities and resources are intended to be available to Mercer students and non-students alike. For more information, visit